HOMETOWN HERO RUHLMAN RECOVERS FROM CRASH TO WIN TRANS-AM ON THE TARMAC AT CLEVELAND CLEVELAND (June 25, 2005) -- Randy Ruhlman proved yet again that the final spot on the starting grid is the place to be at Cleveland by winning the Trans-Am on...
HOMETOWN HERO RUHLMAN RECOVERS FROM CRASH TO WIN TRANS-AM ON THE TARMAC AT CLEVELAND
CLEVELAND (June 25, 2005) -- Randy Ruhlman proved yet again that the final spot on the starting grid is the place to be at Cleveland by winning the Trans-Am on the Tarmac after starting last Saturday at Burke Lakefront Airport. In the process, the Cleveland Heights native, in the No. 49 Preformed Line Products Chevrolet Corvette, earned his second win of the season and leaves Cleveland with a 22-point lead in the championship.
John Baucom (No. 86 MAP Quality Engineering/Software Toolbox Ford Mustang) finished second, recording his best Series finish. Joey Scarallo, who suffered from heat exhaustion late in the event, finished third, earning his second consecutive podium, in the No. 06 Group A Wheels/Autotrend/Toyo Tires Chevrolet Corvette. Paul Fix was fourth overall and won the GT-1 Class in the No. 77 StopFlex/Buca di Beppo Ford Mustang, while Mike Davis (No. 10 ACS Express Ford Mustang) completed the top five.
Ruhlman's Corvette suffered an axle failure in first-round practice Friday morning, sending Ruhlman into the pit-straight wall at nearly 150 miles per hour. Though Ruhlman was unhurt in the incident, the front of his car was destroyed. His Derhaag Motorsports team kicked it into high gear, flying in a fabricator from its Minnesota shop. They worked through the night and repaired the car.
Ruhlman took it from there. Starting 13h, Ruhlman picked his way through the field and came out atop a three-car battle with Scarallo and Baucom on lap 27. He wasn't headed from there.
"This weekend has been absolutely unbelievable," said Ruhlman. "I'm really glad I was able to get the job done today and bring this one home for my Derhaag Motorsports team. My team really went above and beyond the call to make this happen."
"You don't know what it means every year to come home to this race, see family and friends and to visit with our friends at Preformed Line Products," said Ruhlman of his Cleveland-based sponsor. "They've been steadfast behind us, backing us for years. We've always run strong here and we always love it here in Cleveland. People in Cleveland love their sports and the Grand Prix is no different. We love putting on a show for them. To bring this one to the home crowd is just fantastic."
Baucom was pleased with his first Series podium.
"This is great. We're just ecstatic," said the former SCCA Club Racing phenom and President's Cup winner. "We've been working on this for more than five years and we've gotten really close a bunch of times, but we've never really been able to take advantage of it. It's just great to be up here."
Scarallo said his new Tony Ave-led team has made a huge difference this season. Scarallo actually led eight laps in the race, marking his first time leading a Trans-Am race. He passed Klaus Graf (No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR), taking the lead on lap 15. Graf recovered the lead on lap 17, but fell out with mechanical problems three laps later. Scarallo inherited the point, but slowed when his cool suit failed late in the event and the heat took its toll.
"We've really built ourselves some momentum after Portland," said Scarallo. "Everything is really gelling with my team. The communication is great. When I want certain things in the car, they know what to give me. This is really bittersweet for me because I think we had the car to win. We really should have won this race. The heat just knocked us out of contention. When the cool suit began to fail and the heat started to soak into me, I started to get worn out. From the caution on, things really began to go down hill."
Paul Gentilozzi (No. 1 Jaguar R Performance XKR) took the lead in turn one at the start, but slid off course on lap 13, surrendering the point to Graf. Gentilozzi later retired with a mechanical failure.
The race ran in a record one hour, five minutes and 12.480 seconds at an average speed of 93.014 miles per hour. The race was slowed once by the caution flag for five laps. Graf set the race's fastest lap. Today's race will air on a tape-delayed basis, Sunday, July 3 at 3 p.m. EDT on SPEED Channel.